PARRY SOUND, ON-The West Parry Sound Health Centre and Belvedere Heights Long Term Care have confirmed two staff members have been tested to have asymptomatic cases of COVID-19. 

While these two staff members have been confirmed to be asymptomatic, they will remain off work for a minimum of 14 days.  

In an interview with MyParrySoundNow, Belvedere Heights Administrator Kami Johnson said they were in immediate contact with public health once these cases were confirmed. With the facilities’ current regulations, any cases that may be asymptomatic, the home will declare an outbreak.         

Since the pandemic started, the facility has been conducting bi-weekly COVID-19 surveillance testing for all of its staff members. As these two were constantly being equipped with PPE at all times, the home also practised thorough hygiene.

Johnson said that despite Public Health noting that there is no further testing recommended, the facility will be in daily communication with Public Health and will continue to test their staff every two weeks regularly.      

While even though the rest of the tests came back negative for the remainder of the staff since an outbreak was declared, the facility will no longer be accepting visitors, except for compassionate care reasons, as well as no new admissions.

When asked if the facility will be adopting any additional forms of COVID-19 prevention, Johnson said they would continue to follow the direction of Public Health and noted that they have have been prepared to deal with any cases that might emerge.

Dr. Wil Smith, the Acting Chief of Medical Staff at the WPSHC, said while they have not identified how these two new cases originally contracted the virus, they are currently undergoing their tracing to find if anyone may have been exposed. 

“As far as we are aware, there is now obvious exposure risk or source for these infections. These positive results don’t really come as a surprise to us, though, we have been aware that COVID has been in the community for months now. Most of the cases we have seen so far have not had an obvious single cause, so we know that the virus is out there circulating and that everyone does need to take precautions,” said Dr. Smith.

Johnson noted that they do have a plan in place to address if a resident of the facility becomes infected with the virus. The home has set up isolation rooms, established a relationship with the hospital to ensure they have the proper resources to take care of that resident, make sure that if a staff member is tending to that resident, it is the only one they are seeing, and ensure that family members are provided daily updates.   

CEO of the WPSHC Donald Sanderson said they are concerned about the complacency in the community. He noted that our best hope to stay healthy is to make sure we continue to isolate within our family or household, and whenever we venture out into the community, we practise physical distancing and hand washing.